In conversation with Social Samosa, Gulbahar Taurani, Philips India shares how the brand’s consumer engagement actually got better during the pandemic. With emphasis on evolving KPIs & apt briefs, festive marketing spends & strategy of Philips, Taurani takes us through the changing life of marketers post COVID-19
Gulbahar Taurani, VP, Personal Health, Philips Indian Subcontinent explains that their consumer engagement actually got better during the pandemic. The challenges that COVID-19 through at them, helped the brand understand consumer needs better & create solutions that are helpful and responsible. With digital being the hero in this phase, he tells Social Samosa that over 50% of their festive marketing spends will be on digital.
Taurani, explains how businesses now need to be more in touch with the reality, focus on new KPIs like consumer engagement and NPS, while focusing on brand responsibility.
Philips recently launched #SelfMade campaign. Please tell us what kind of a role does the campaign play in the entirety of your marketing strategy
Our recent campaign, #SelfMade feature Virat Kohli is in line with this philosophy and a part of our larger theme. Through our consumer insights we know that there is a strong association between Virat and courage and our consumers wish to be a part of this association. With the idea of integrating our consumers in this communication we launched Philips Signature Series which has products with Virat’s signature on it. Virat is self-made and humble, on and off the field. He resonates with the common man who works hard. This is why on one hand we offer encouragement through a message from Virat & on the other hand we ask our customers to share their stories of hard work. We will continue to create engagement on social media & urge consumers to be a part of it.
With Virat Kohli being the face of the campaign, how will you leverage IPL?
We do have a detailed IPL marketing plan in place where we have created designated time slots, budgets, and content ideas for traditional and digital mediums, both – all this is in place. But for this campaign, our objective is to get consumers to share their stories. As a brand, it is our duty to create a platform where consumers can share their point of view. Which is why we’re not correlating Virat’s presence to IPL.
How have the past 6 months changed core systems at Philips – in terms of marketing & business, both?
India saw one of the strictest lockdowns in the world. During this phase we as a community were looking for a platform to express opinions and seek guidance from experts. To bridge the gap we started many initiatives on our social media platforms, one of them being featured recipes as people started cooking more. Also, people wanted to share their cooking experience. We wanted to be the bridge here, which is when we roped in Ranveer Brar for our campaign. Similarly, we created a campaign for young mothers who during the lockdown were looking for information and ideas to take care of their children. Here, we highlighted information around the subject & gave them the opportunity to communicate with each other.
We created many such campaigns based on consumer insights that were relevant and obvious. The pandemic actually gave us an opportunity to communicate with our consumers in a much better way. We helped our consumers make the best out of the resources available and during this phase social media and digital played a very important role.
You can create a dialogue on social media platforms and dialogues are of extreme importance in the current climate.
When you say social media marketing played an important role, how did you approach the medium?
In my opinion, obviously big social media platforms will be a part of your plan but if you’re clear about your objective and the audience you wish to speak to then niche platforms can yield better results.
But the journey starts with your own brief.
What is your KPI? Is it impressions or awareness or creating a whole brand journey? For instance, when we look at influencer marketing we not only see their profile but also what we expect from them. Our digital journey during this phase has been very interesting. We have doubled our digital marketing expenses if not more and we did not restrict ourselves to a few platforms.
What have been some of the biggest business learnings from the entire experience?
On the business side everyone has realized that they need to be agile. There has been a huge change in terms of consumer demand – if you’re not agile and you can’t keep up with the changing demands & trends and modify your pipeline then you won’t be able to survive.
Another takeaway is to be flexible. I am not saying that one has to change their strategy everyday; the long term strategy has to be carried out. But you need to stay relevant with the changing reality that we’re faced with everyday. For instance, there might be a COVID-19 positive case in your factory or in your vendor’s warehouse or the government might have to change certain guidelines – the realities are changing everyday. As a business you need to be sensitive to these changes.
On the marketing side of things, businesses have realized that the investment you do in marketing and creating a brand actually helps you during difficult times. With traditional KPIs like RoI and awareness, consumer engagement and conversations have now become the most important.
The second important factor during the current situation is the brand’s NPS (Net Promoter Score). If you’re able to improve your NPS it will pay off in the long run.
The third thing that has changed in terms of marketing is what to measure. A lot of measurement parameters that we used earlier are just not relevant anymore.
Pre-corona & post-corona: how have users in the consumer durables segment evolved? Please share a few consumer insights
With the category, the consumer is looking for the best value for the money. It is not about expensive or cheap anymore. Consumers are more of a destination shoppers today – they know what they want to buy, at what price and from where. The entire digital journey that the brands & consumers made during the pandemic made them more aware and confident about their choices. This one of the concrete changes we have seen in terms of consumer behavior.
Secondly, consumers are looking at products and solutions that can make their life easier. For example, people spend more time at home, so now they’re looking for gadgets that make house chores easier and here they don’t look at an expensive or a cheap option, it is purely a need based choice. The concept of DIY has gained huge momentum, consumers are a lot more confident using a hair straightener or a trimmer – in a nutshell it is a demand generated from the changing needs of the consumer.
Festive season begins in less than 10 days. What does your festive marketing strategy look like?
In terms of AdSpends, overall we will be spending more than last year this festive season. We believe that it’s our responsibility to create that momentum and demand in the market.
From a platform point of view, like I said earlier our digital spends have already doubled and during the festive season it will be almost two and half to three times what we spent last year.
It will be almost 50% of our entire spend this festive season.